Sunderland Brexit Party candidate Viral Parikh announced while he is still a Conservative Councillor in West Sussex
A newly-announced Brexit party candidate for Sunderland is currently sitting as a Conservative Councillor on West Sussex County Council, some 300 miles from the city.
Viral Parikh was announced on Saturday, August 3 as the Brexit party candidate for Sunderland Central who would stand in any upcoming elections.
A raft of announcements for candidates in mainly Northern, Brexit-voting constituencies were made by Nigel Farage’s party which has said it wants to field a candidate in every seat in the UK in the next general election.
Mr Parikh is a pharmacist from Mumbai in India and has links to Wearside as he studied at Sunderland University, before going on to work in Sunderland and Hartlepool.
He currently lives more than 300 miles away from Sunderland in West Sussex where he had been a Conservative Councillor for the Bourne ward since 2017.
Mr Parikh said he was drafting his resignation letter to the Conservatives and the council “as we speak” on Saturday afternoon, hours after the Brexit party announcement.
He said: “I told the leader of the council about my place in the process with the Brexit party and that it had not been decided yet.
“It’s a big political risk as a Conservative councillor.”
Mr Parikh said he is leaving the Conservative party after a decade because of the party’s handling of Brexit.
He said: “I was hoping we would have had Brexit by March 29, but it soon became clear that Brexit wasn't going to happen.
“The will of the people has not been listened too, and in a way I am upset with my own party.”
“This is not right and I was in the horns of a dilemma.”
A Brexit party spokesman explained that no Brexit party rules had been broken in this situation, as the party does not have a membership system.
He said: “You have to be a supporter, we don’t have a member base. I understand he has spoken to the people and is going to formally go to the council to give notice.
“We’ve got former Labour people, Lib Dems, all sorts. This is a matter of manners not the law.”
The resignation will prompt a by-election for West Sussex County Council.